Teaser Tuesdays 11/10

“She was dazzling, radiant, not simply to my eyes but somehow to my soul as well. I saw her and recognised her worth.”

63%

Rating: 4 out of 5.

One woman’s secret will shape another’s destiny…

With romance, time travel and the paranormal Cornick weaves an unforgettable story that reminds us the value of women and that history is not to be forgotten or ignored.

Stop by my stop on The Forgotten Sister blog tour for the rest of my review! 😀

If you are a woman, what does it mean for YOU to be SEEN? Men, what are ways in which you can see the true essence of the women in your lives?

Nonfiction November #2

Sisters in Hate by Seyward Darby

Special thanks to Jess at Little, Brown and Company for my copy of this book.

When I first read the synopsis I thought in my misguided way that these women would have been born within the movement. Taught to hate as children; their voices getting louder as they reached adulthood. Although this does happen, this was not the case here. All of the women featured in this book are in their forties and joined the white separatist movement as adults.

Hate is far more complex than what we see on the surface.

Like Ibram Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas, Darby looks at the frameworks and ideologies from which racist sentiments arise. What is unique about Sisters in Hate is that it examines hate from a different angle- as a White woman looking in.

One assumption that Darby highlights is the “women-are-wonderful effect“. Basically we as a society look at women and automatically classify them as sweet little girls or nurturing moms. Either way, women are considered harmless, fragile beings that need to be protected. The KKK capitalized on this ideology on its rise to prominence after the premiere of The Birth of a Nation. Instead of being perceived as terrorists they were knights in white-robed armour; gentlemen guarding the purity of the white woman, the mother of the Aryan race.

Historically, Darby cites the “postwar fable of the apolitical woman.” The egregious acts committed by women in the Third Reich have been documented. It has been shown that Nazi women were just as culpable as the men. They too had blood on their hands, but often escaped prosecution. Instead, being of the fairer sex, these women were labeled as victims of their circumstances. So instead of being rightfully vilified, they became victimized. You see this same pattern in other points in history including the antebellum South, the Civil Rights Movement and even in today’s news. Fragile White women, dubbed “Karens” by social media, feel it’s their inherent right to call the police on Black people doing everyday things. They feel threatened by Black people barbecuing, bird-watching, studying in their dorm . . . and are quick to manipulate this framework to the disadvantage of black and brown people.

The Alt-Right has realized that they can use this “women-are-wonderful effect” to their advantage. Kind of like a Trojan Horse, no one would expect a bomb to be dressed as a flower. A woman can be a weapon because she doesn’t look like a threat and because not much is expected of her. In fact, the exponential growth that we’ve seen is due in part to the recruitment measures of women. As mothers – soccer moms, PTA, mommy bloggers – they have access to a market that men don’t. They put a happy smiling face on the movement. With their traditional values, homespun ways and beautiful corn-fed babies, they help to normalize the movement and make it seem benign.

Out of this sacred motherhood, Darby shows these women get a sense of purpose and belonging. They feel important and embrace the movement out of this personal need for self-affirmation. This is by far a scarier notion of hate and signals that much work will be required to dismantle White Nationalism and move towards healing as a nation.

Throwback Thursday #3

I discovered Throwback Thursday on my friend Carla Loves To Read page.

Throwback Thursday meme is hosted by Renee@It’s Book Talk and is a way to share some of your old favorites as well as sharing books that you’re FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on your TBR list while you continue to pile more titles on top of them! These older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board and connect back to Renee’s blog.


This week I decided to choose a nonfiction book – The World Between Two Covers – as this is Nonfiction November. What excited me about this book was that it broadened my horizons. It made me purposely search out books in translation and from different perspectives. Back then over 90% of my reading was mystery/thrillers from older white men. This year 90% of my books read were women and POC.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My Review

When I first picked up this book I was excited about the concept of reading texts from all across the world. I could already envision myself with sails cast traveling figuratively to unknown lands. In my mind’s eye I saw clearly the vast array of colors that enveloped the people; could almost taste the exotic food as the aroma of culinary delights wafted into my nose. From looking at the cover, I expected Ann Morgan, “Blogger Extraordinaire”, to include us on her literary adventures. I expected this book to delve into the “The 196 ( . . . AND Kurdistan)” with delightful anecdotes of far-away lands. I supposed it might be a foray into ethnic studies reminiscent of my cultural anthropology classes in college. Ah but alas – One should never judge a book by its cover. What a found between these two covers (pun intended) was a thorough research endeavor in which Morgan painstakingly sought out, found, and was gifted texts from around the world. Indeed some texts had not yet been translated into English and others not even published.


In this global economy that we live in where we can Skype with someone clear across the other side of the world, one might think that Ann Morgan’s endeavor were a simple feat. Over the course of 12 chapters she outlines why we are not as globally minded as we might think we are and the obstacles that stand in the way of authors and readers alike trying to connect across cultures. From the Eurocentrism evident not only in our choice of literary canons, but also in our construction of maps that color how we perceive the world — to the “translation bottleneck” that determines which books even have a chance of reaching the Anglophone reader, Morgan’s thorough analysis is both eye opening and soul searching.

This review originally appeared on my GoodReads page August 4, 2015


Throwback Pic

This photo, Frida Kahlo on White Bench, was taken by Hungarian photographer Nickolas Muray in New York, 1939. The pair are said to have had a decades long love affair.

Signing off. Hope we get to talk books soon!

Teaser Tuesday 11/3/20

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme hosted by The Purple Booker. It’s super easy and anyone can join in the fun!

1: Grab your current read
2: Open to a random page
3: Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

This week’s featured book is Sisters in Hate: American Women on the Front Lines of White Nationalism by Seyward Darby. I am reading this book during Nonfiction November to get insight into how “the other side” thinks. I have my reasons for why I think people become racists because we all know they weren’t born that way. But I wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth so to speak and Seyward Darby has afforded me this option.

Synopsis

After the election of Donald J. Trump, journalist Seyward Darby went looking for the women of the so-called alt-right–really just white nationalism with a new label. The mainstream media depicted the alt-right as a bastion of angry white men, but was it? As women headlined resistance to the Trump administration’s bigotry and sexism, most notably at the women’s marches, Darby wanted to know why others were joining a movement espousing racism and anti-feminism. Who were these women, and what did their activism reveal about America’s past, present, and future?

Darby researched dozens of women across the country before settling on three: Corinna Olsen, Ayla Stewart, and Lana Lokteff. Each was born in 1979 and became a white nationalist in the post-9/11 era. Their respective stories of radicalization upend much of what we assume about women, politics, and political extremism.


The Teaser

Corinna never tried the shallow end of anything. She didn’t see the point, when the deep end was right there, waiting.

pg. 34

What do you think drives people to hate? Are there any remedies for racism?

Blog Tour: The Company Daughters

Buy Links

Synopsis

Wanted: Company Daughters. Virtuous young ladies to become the brides of industrious settlers in a foreign land. The Company will pay the cost of the lady’s dowry and travel. Returns not permitted, orphans preferred.

Amsterdam, 1620. Jana Beil has learned that life rarely provides moments of joy. Having run away from a violent father, her days are spent searching for work in an effort to stay out of the city brothels, where desperate women trade their bodies for a mouthful of bread. But when Jana is hired as a servant for the wealthy and kind Master Reynst and his beautiful daughter Sontje, Jana’s future begins to look brighter.

But then Master Reynst loses his fortune on a bad investment, and everything changes. The house is sold to creditors, leaving Jana back on the street and Sontje without a future.

With no other choice, Jana and Sontje are forced to sign with the East India Company as Company Daughters: sailing to a colonial Dutch outpost to become the brides of male settlers they know nothing about. With fear in their hearts, the girls begin their journey – but what awaits them on the other side of the world is nothing like what they’ve been promised…

Based on true history, this is a beautiful and sensual historical novel, perfect for fans of The Girl with the Pearl EarringThe Miniaturist and The Indigo Girl.


Review

“I’ve spent most of my life in pursuit of respectability, and the one time I refused it, I finally felt free.”

Jana Biel has led a hard life. On her own at an early age she has been judged and defined by her circumstances. She has learned how to survive against the odds and make the most of her situation. Work hard, keep your head down, keep your past to yourself. At all costs protect your heart.

Over the course of the novel we see her growth and to some extent Sontje’s as well. The two women experience many hardships, but through it all there is light in Rajaram’s words. I was moved by the subversive text and the colorful descriptions of nature. Rajaram, although dealing with themes of oppression, kept reminding the reader of the beauty found in the everyday things in life.

To describe how ravenous Jana was – “She turns to fetch him while I wait on the doorstep next to the blue, open-mouthed crocuses. Hungry, just like me.”

On hope – “Helena once said the stars were like eyes watching us, winking like old friends, I always thought the stars protected us, reminded us that darkness is never complete.”

Comfort comes in the cadent song of the waves lapping onto the shore. Guidance is given by the unfurling branches of a tree.

Her descriptions of place make both Amsterdam and Batavia come alive. Careful attention is paid to the many layers in which people are oppressed. Through Jana’s narration we not only learn about this historical period but are provided a prism of compassion. We learn what it is like to be an orphan, a women of no means, queer in the 17th century. We are asked to consider the plight of the slave. Jana is flawed, human. But she is also empathetic and able to see outside herself. So when she falters she eventually recognizes, admits and tries to correct her mistakes. Her character and this book will stay with me for quite a while. Great debut!


Meet the Author

Samantha Rajaram spent most of her childhood in Gillette, Wyoming, where she and her family were the first Indian-Americans to live in the community. As a law student, she focused on social justice and international human rights law with a focus on female sex trafficking.

She is now an educator, and currently teaches composition at Chabot College in Hayward, California. She lives in the California Bay Area with her three children.

Where You Can Find Her

Throwback Thursday #2

I discovered Throwback Thursday on my friend Carla Loves To Read page.

Throwback Thursday meme is hosted by Renee@It’s Book Talk and is a way to share some of your old favorites as well as sharing books that you’re FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on your TBR list while you continue to pile more titles on top of them! These older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board and connect back to Renee’s blog.


This week’s selection was taken from my “Best Book of the Year” shelf where I try earnestly to pick my ultimate favorite book out of 100 or so books I’ve read that year. A daunting task for sure but it gives me a bit more time to spend with the books that touched my heart. Hanya Yanigihara’s A Little Life was one of two books in 2015 that made it on to my list. To read this book is to viscerally, with your whole body and heart, experience another person’s life, loves and tragedy. This is one of those books where I ugly cried. But it is also one of the most tender and moving and strangely hopeful books I’ve ever read. You can find the following review and more on my GoodReads page.

It took me quite a while to get through this book. Not because of the 700+ pages but because of the intense themes (addiction, self-mutilation, abuse in its many forms) that run throughout the book. Please don’t get me wrong I loved this book. It was so beautifully written, the characters were so thoughtfully developed. Yanagihara held nothing back as she praised their gifts; exposed their weaknesses and flaws. I felt as if I personally knew JB, Jude, Willem and Malcolm. Despite how seemingly different my life was from theirs, I still found myself identifying with each of them, crying real tears as they faced their trials and endured the unthinkable. Despite the dark undercurrents of this book, I found it to also be a love story between friends, the definition of family and the sacrifice of lovers.

Throwback Pic

In this photo of Jimi Hendrix taken in 1968 for the album cover of Electric Ladyland, photographer David Montgomery set an actual fire on the set. Yet look at Jimi’s serenity. Despite the chaos behind him he seems at peace. Altogether it makes for an awesome shot don’t you think?

Signing off. Hope we get to talk books soon!

Teaser Tuesday 10/27/20

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme hosted by The Purple Booker. It’s super easy and anyone can join in the fun!

1: Grab your current read
2: Open to a random page
3: Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

The book I am featuring today is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Although I have been avoiding books about pandemics, Station Eleven is part of the Tournament of Books Super Rooster competition.

  • Dystopian/Post-apocalyptic
  • Paperback, 333 pages
  • Published 1st 2014 by Knopf

Synopsis

Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.


The Teaser

He’d felt a vertiginous giving-way, the cliff crumbling beneath his feet, but held to sanity by sheer willpower. He wasn’t well, but was anyone?

pg. 189

How has your reading been affected by the pandemic? What type of books have you found comforting to read during this time?

Blog Tour: The Mirror Man

Buy Links

Synopsis

Meet Jeremiah Adams. There are two of him.

The offer is too tempting: be part of a scientific breakthrough, step out of his life for a year, and be paid hugely for it. When ViGen Pharmaceuticals asks Jeremiah to be part of an illegal cloning experiment, he sees it as a break from an existence he feels disconnected from. No one will know he’s been replaced—not the son who ignores him, not his increasingly distant wife—since a revolutionary drug called Meld can transfer his consciousness and memories to his copy.

From a luxurious apartment, he watches the clone navigate his day-to-day life. But soon Jeremiah discovers that examining himself from an outsider’s perspective isn’t what he thought it would be, and he watches in horror as “his” life spirals out of control. ViGen needs the experiment to succeed—they won’t call it off, and are prepared to remove any obstacle. With his family in danger, Jeremiah needs to finally find the courage to face himself head-on.


My Thoughts

Mirror Man is being billed as a science fiction thriller. But I feel that Gilmartin spends more time addressing the moral dilemma of human cloning. Jeremiah has the benefit of being an outsider looking into his life. He sees a lot that he does like and grows to understand how his circumstances and his limitations are the result of his own decisions. As time passes he becomes more judgmental of himself while learning to be more empathetic towards his clone and his family. Unfortunately, this moment of reflection comes after he has experienced irreversible losses. Kudos to Gilmartin on a debut that not only has a dynamic plot but also probes humanity and ethics. I also would like to give a special nod to Louie and his infinite wisdom.


Meet the Author

Jane Gilmartin has been a news reporter and editor for several small-town weekly papers and enjoyed a brief but exciting stint as a rock music journalist. A bucket list review just before she turned 50 set her on the path to fiction writing. Also checked off that list: an accidental singing career, attending a Star Trek convention, and getting a hug from David Bowie. She lives in her hometown of Hingham, Massachusetts.

Where You Can Find Her


Excerpt

Charles Scott glared down at him with a glint in his green eyes that felt like a warning, and Jeremiah replayed in his head the man’s ambiguous threat during their first meeting several weeks before.

“You now know as much about this project as anyone else involved,” he’d said. “It wouldn’t do to have too many people walking around with this kind of information. Our investors have a tendency to get nervous.”

Although Scott had quickly followed that remark with the matter of Jeremiah’s substantial compensation, there was no mistaking the implication: the moment he’d been told about the cloning project Jeremiah was already in. That first meeting hadn’t been an invitation so much as an orientation, and the contract he’d later signed had been a formality, at best. And the entire thing had done nothing but gain momentum from that moment on.

Dr. Pike continued to affix the wires to Jeremiah’s head. Jeremiah focused on the man’s gleaming black hair and the deep brown of his sure, professional hands, and he struggled to remember the allure of the $10 million payout he’d get at the end of the whole thing. That kind of money could fix a lot of problems. It would change things. The prospect of that
fortune had been enough to make him turn away from principles he thought were unshakable. Every man has his price, he supposed.

Somewhere in the back of his mind he also acknowledged the real temptation of a twelve-month sabbatical from his own life. It had seduced him every bit as much as the money had. Maybe more. Between a job that had already begun to make him question his own morals, and a marriage that felt increasingly more like a lie, stress was eating him alive. And into his lap fell a chance to just walk away from all of it—without consequence
and without blame. A free pass. He could simply walk away without anyone even knowing he was gone. There isn’t a man alive, he told himself, who would have refused. Despite the ethical question, despite that human cloning was illegal the world over, it would have tempted anyone.

Dr. Pike injected the clone with Meld and then turned wordlessly to Jeremiah with the second syringe poised above his left shoulder.

Jeremiah closed his eyes and rolled up his sleeve.

After the initial stab of the needle, he felt nothing. Which is not to say he didn’t feel anything; he literally felt nothing. Seconds after the injection, he became aware of a total emptiness, like a towering black wave that threatened to sink him into an immeasurable void. The experience was unlike anything he’d ever known. He imagined an astronaut suddenly untethered from his ship, floating helplessly into unending darkness. Without thinking, he immediately felt his body recoil. His mind screamed against it.

I’m dying!

From impossibly far away, he heard Dr. Pike say something about a heart rate and felt the slight pressure of a hand on his shoulder. He couldn’t see anything of the hospital room anymore. He was drowning in the blackness. His chest felt suddenly constricted. He fought just to find his breath.

“This is all perfectly normal, Mr. Adams. You have nothing to worry about. Concentrate on the sound of my voice. Nod if you can hear me.”

With considerable effort, Jeremiah managed what he hoped was a nod of his head. He was suddenly gripped by the alarming certainty that if he couldn’t communicate somehow, he’d be lost—swept away forever.

“Good. Good. Listen to my voice. It will keep you grounded.” Pike still sounded far away, but Jeremiah nodded again and struggled to focus. “What you are experiencing is to be expected. Do you remember when you took the Meld with Dr. Young? Do you remember the way you could feel her thoughts for the first few minutes?”

He nodded. It had been an unnerving thing to perceive her consciousness mixing with his like that. Flashes from her mind—odd, alien things like the feel of a blister on the back of her right heel, the familiar gleam in the eye of an old man he’d never seen—had swirled into the very structure of his own mind and fought for a place to settle. He had railed against that, too, and she had grounded him by flashing a penlight in his face, making him focus on that while the Meld took effect. Afterward, once he had sunk in, it had been easier.

“This is no different than what you experienced then,” Pike said. “This time, though, you are connected to an empty mind. There’s nothing there. But the more you resist, the longer this will take. You need to relax, Mr. Adams. Give in to it.”

Jeremiah nodded again and then shook his head with as much grit as he could muster. How does one give in to this? He didn’t think he could do it.

“Once your thoughts begin transferring into the mind of the clone it will be easier for you,” Pike urged. “Focus on a memory, as I suggested. Something vivid. It will help to fill that void you’re experiencing now. It will give you something to hang on to.”

Without the benefit of his full faculties, Jeremiah had little choice but to grab the last thing he’d been thinking about—his initial conversation with Charles Scott, the day all of this began.

He’d been surprised when he’d received an invitation to lunch from ViMed’s head of Engineering. The man was an icon in the science world, and although he’d quoted him a hundred times for the company, Jeremiah had never actually met him. He’d been intrigued enough to accept the invitation, especially when Scott had told him it involved a “proposition
that could make him a very wealthy man.”

Flashes of that encounter and snatches of conversation now flitted through his mind like so many fireflies. He fought to catch them. “We’ve been watching you, Mr. Adams.”

“All we ask is one year of your life. Isn’t that worth $10 million?”
“We can do this. The science exists. And with Meld, the clone will even share your thought patterns… Your own mother won’t know the difference.” “This is sanctioned by powerful people—we have millions in secret federal backing. There are billions more in eventual funding… There’s no need to be so suspicious, Mr. Adams.”

From somewhere far away, Jeremiah heard Dr. Pike repeating his name. He had been so engulfed in his efforts to hold on to the memory that he’d almost forgotten where he was. As soon as he realized it, the void loomed again in his mind.

“Mr. Adams,” Pike said, “you’ve got to listen to me. The clone cannot pick up on any memory of the experiment. What you’re thinking about is not going to help. You need to think about something else, some memory that won’t be filtered. His mind is still empty.”

Jeremiah panicked. He couldn’t think. And now that he wasn’t focused on anything, the blackness began to take over again, creeping closer and threatening to swallow him. He fought for breath.

“Relax, Mr. Adams,” Pike said. “Think about your job here at ViMed. Remember something the clone can actually use. Something he’ll need to know.”

He felt a dull jab at his shoulder.
“This should help. I’ve given you a mild sedative. Take a few deep breaths. Concentrate on your breathing.”

With everything in him, Jeremiah tried to turn his mind away from the void that seemed to be all around him. He inhaled deeply and tried to focus on the rise of his own chest. Exhaled, and he felt his chest fall.

“Very good, Mr. Adams. Very good. Pulse is returning to normal. Deep breaths. Now, think about a typical day at work. Something ordinary and mundane.”

Inhale. Exhale. After a moment, Jeremiah began to relax and, as the sedative took hold, he found he could let his mind wander without the frantic thought that he’d never get it back. An oddly comforting fog seemed to expand in front of him, pushing the blackness away slightly, and Jeremiah retreated into it.

He began to think about the morning of the Meld fiasco—the day the New Jersey housewife had killed herself. The press had been circling. He’d arrived at his office with a terse mandate from his superiors to “get these fuckers off our back” and no idea how to accomplish that. It hadn’t been lost on him that not a single soul seemed bothered enough to stop and feel sorry about it, and he’d taken a quick moment behind his office door to offer silent condolences. It wasn’t thirty seconds before someone had come knocking, pushing him to get something done.

Weeks before, he’d heard talk of Meld being used to detect brain activity in a sixteen-year-old football player who had been comatose for nearly six months. Time to cash in. He tracked down the doctor somewhere in Delaware and the man started gushing about Meld, calling it “magical,” “a godsend” and “the most important medical advance of a generation.”

“After so many weeks,” he said, “the parents were hopeless.”
Meld was a last resort before pulling the plug, and it gave them the first clear signs of neural activity in the boy.

“Not only was he aware and awake in there, but he was cognizant of everything that was going on around him—including the fact that his parents were losing hope. He even heard them talking about funeral arrangements at one point. The kid was scared, terrified. He was begging for his life in there. That’s what I saw when I took the Meld with him. Meld
absolutely saved his life. There is no doubt in my mind.”

Jeremiah had almost smiled. It was pure gold. A few hours later, the story was in the hands of every major news outlet, and that doctor was spending his fifteen minutes of fame touting Meld as “a medical miracle.”

Jeremiah focused on that now. Maybe Meld did have some silver lining, after all, he thought. Maybe it was miraculous.

Spell the Month in Books

Spell the Month in Books is a fun challenge created by Jana @ Reviews from the Stacks. The idea is to spell the month using the first letter from books you plan to read during that month. When I saw it on Susan’s page I decided I would jump in on the fun but as October is nearly over I decided to instead highlight books from another challenge I am participating in called 52 Weeks of Women of Color.

O is for One Night in Georgia

“Set in the summer of 1968, (One Night in Georgia) a provocative and devastating novel of individual lives caught in the grips of violent history—a timely and poignant story that reverberates with the power of Alice Walker’s Meridian and Ntozake Shange’s Betsey Browne.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

C is for Conjure Women

Conjure Women is a magical debut that vividly captures America after the Civil War. A compulsive read, it emphasizes the importance of community, the resilience of women and knowing your power.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

T is for The Talking Drum

The Talking Drum examines gentrification and its impact on the black community was what drew me to this book. With the beating of the drums as an undercurrent throughout the book, Braxton reminds the reader of our connection to the ancestors and spirituality. That rhythm is our collective heartbeat. It symbolizes that all within the diaspora are of one blood despite our divisiveness.

The take home message from The Talking Drum was about community and of people holding steadfast in their convictions and weathering the storm together.

Check out my interview with Lisa Braxton here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

O is for The Other Americans

The Other Americans is a multilayered novel. It is all at once a family saga, a mystery, social commentary and a love story. Told from the perspectives of the victim, his immigrant family, neighbors and police, The Other Americans not only provides a clear lens for racial and class tensions, but also allows insight into the burdens our protectors carry. Although the book description focuses on the hit and run accident that claimed the life of patriarch Driss Guerraroui, at the forefront of this novel is love: self-love and acceptance, the love between a parent and child, sacrifice and romantic love. Not a syrupy sweet fairy tale romance, but a soul stirring love with real people, real issues and real emotion.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

B is for Banned Book Club

Banned Book Club is a graphic novel set during South Korea’s Fifth Republic. One aspect of the book that I liked was that it shows throughout history how books and art were used as a form of protest. The author not only declares books as political, but goes further to address the reasons why those in power censor books. The reason is not just because of possible messages of dissent, but rather that they can see themselves as the villains of these novels. Their fear that others may recognize this is what drives them to ban books. They want to control their image, to control the political narrative.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

E is for Empire of Wild

Dimaline’s Empire of Wild is a love story. It is about family, tradition, the gift of our elders. It is also a social commentary on the dispossessed, on capitalism and the perverting of religion for financial gain. The horror of this story is not the Rogarou, but big business and their manipulation of legal loopholes to trample on indigenous people and the land.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

R is for The Revisioners

The Revisioners explores the depths of women’s relationships—powerful women and marginalized women, healers and survivors. It is a novel about the bonds between a mother and a child, the dangers that upend those bonds. At its core, The Revisioners ponders generational legacies, the endurance of hope, and the undying promise of freedom.”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Check out my GoodReads page to see my full reviews and more suggestions of diverse reads!

Throwback Thursday #1

I discovered Throwback Thursday on my friend Carla Loves To Read page.

Throwback Thursday meme is hosted by Renee@It’s Book Talk and is a way to share some of your old favorites as well as sharing books that you’re FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on your TBR list while you continue to pile more titles on top of them! These older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board and connect back to Renee’s blog.


I have to admit that it was kind of fun going through my old reviews and visiting some of the books I enjoyed in the past. It was tough to pick one so I let GoodReads list sort it out for me. Sarah Winman’s Tin Man was a gem of a book. I hope you get the chance to read it. You can find the following review and more on my GoodReads page.

My Review

Although I read this short novel in just one sitting it has taken me some time to come to grips with how I feel. The blurb on the back of this book states:
“This is almost a love story. But it’s not as simple as that.”
I feel this sums up Sarah Winman’s Tin Man accurately. There is certainly nothing simple about how this book moves you. And I am not sure that any words I put to paper can accurately capture its essence. Tin Man is about first and lasting loves. It is about friendships that endure. It is about grief. Tin Man is a story rendered with beautiful prose that manages as novelist Matt Haig so astutely observed, to “break your heart and warm it all at once”. 

Throwback Pic

I’ll leave you with this throwback image of Madonna taken by Herb Ritts in 1990.

Signing off. Hope we get to talk books soon !